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His death was instant, and without a groan.
O Friend! may each domestic bliss be thine !
ODE ON SOLITUDE
HAPPY the man whose wish and care
A few paternal acres bound, Content to breathe his native air,
In his own ground.
Whose herds with milk, whose fields with bread,
Whose flocks supply him with attire, Whose trees in summer yield him shade,
In winter fire.
Blest, who can unconcern’dly find
Hours, days, and years slide soft away, In health of body, peace of mind,
Quiet by day,
Sound sleep by night; study and ease,
Together mixt; sweet recreation;
Thus let me live, unseen, unknown,
Thus unlamented let me die,
Tell where I lie.
THE DESCENT OF DULLNESS
[From the Dunciad, Book IV)
ON MR. GAY
IN WESTMINSTER ABBEY, 1732
Of Manners gentle, of Affections mild;
THE RAPE OF THE LOCK
IN 1711 Pope, who had just published his Essay on Criticism, was looking about for new worlds to conquer. A fortunate chance threw in his way a subject exactly suited to his tastes and powers. He seized upon it, dashed off his first sketch in less than a fortnight, and published it anonymously in a Miscellany issued by Lintot in 1712. But the theme had taken firm root in his mind. Dissatisfied with his first treatment of it, he determined, against the advice of the best critic of the day, to recast the work, and lift it from a mere society jeu d'esprit into an elaborate mock-heroic poem. He did so and won a complete success. Even yet, however, he was not completely satisfied and from time to time he added a touch to his work until he finally produced the finished picture which we know as The Rape of the Lock. As it stands, it is an almost flawless masterpiece, a brilliant picture and light-hearted mockery of the gay society of Queen Anne's day, on the whole the most satisfactory creation of Pope's genius, and, perhaps, the best example of the mockheroic in any literature.
The occasion which gave rise to The Rape of the Lock has been so often related that it requires only a brief restatement. Among the Catholic families of Queen Anne's day, who formed a little society of their own, Miss Arabella Fermor was a reigning belle. In a youthful frolic which overstepped the bounds of propriety Lord Petre, a young nobleman of her acquaintance, cut off a lock of her hair. The lady was offended, the two families took up the quarrel, a lasting estrangement, possibly even a duel, was threatened. At this juncture a common friend of the two families, a Mr. Caryll, nephew of a well-known Jacobite exile for whom he is sometimes mistaken, suggested to Pope to write a poem to make a jest of it,” and so kill the quarrel with laughter. Pope consented, wrote